New guidance launched on second opinions in paediatrics

On Thursday 26 May, RCPCH launched a new resource for healthcare professionals, service planners and families of children with complex medical needs to draw upon when requesting, providing and receiving an external second opinion (ESO).
Illustration of a family speaking with two health professionals

This guidance aims to describe in detail what an external opinion process should look like to promote a standard and transparent process that health teams and families can use together. We believe that using this guidance will, most importantly, help prevent the incidence of conflict and disagreement in treatment decisions in the future and be helpful where conflict has already arisen.

As such, this guidance has been developed in partnership with the help of Together for Short Lives, Paediatric Critical Care Society, clinicians from a wide range of specialties and families. 

The new guidance is made up of a range of key components including: 

  • For families: A short downloadable guide that cover the key points of the external opinion process 
  • For paediatricians and the child health workforce: Information to ensure the right foundations are in place to encourage a collaborative and transparent second opinion process  
  • For those working locally and nationally: Recommendations to support this guidance to be adopted. These include supporting families, the paediatric workforce, and education and training.

We have also provided further information including:

  • The legal and professional frameworks in the UK
  • Examples of good practice 
  • Recognition of expert witness work

Head over to our external second opinion landing page.